HRI Review

Racing Review

Petit Mouchoir Makes Smooth Transition

Henry de Bromhead’s Petit Mouchoir made a winning start to his chasing career at Punchestown on Wednesday when making all the running to win the beginners chase by seven lengths under Davy Russell. The two-time Grade 1 winner may now return to Punchestown next month and step up to graded company for his second start over the larger obstacles. Petit Mouchoir’s win was the second leg of a double on the day for Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud as earlier Gordon Elliott’s aptly named Cracking Smart had also proved the market to be correct when winning the 2m4f maiden hurdle at odds of 4/7. Owner JP McManus was at the track on Wednesday and would have been pleased with what he saw in the opening two races, the first of which was won by the Gavin Cromwell-trained Espoir D’allen. The French recruit always travelled strongly under Barry Geraghty and looks a smart prospect for Gavin Cromwell. On a day when the opening six favourites at Punchestown all obliged, Gordon Elliott and all connections of Campeador were all relieved to see him back to winning ways after a frustrating time last year. The grey fell at both the Cheltenham and Fairyhouse spring festivals when looking a likely winner but made no mistake on his return to action when winning the two-mile conditions hurdle. The only race not to be won by a favourite was the concluding bumper which went the way of Liz Doyle’s Cordovan Brown and it was a red-letter day for 18-year-old rider Sean O’Keeffe who was riding his first winner on the impressive mare.

Elliott Hits Punchestown For Six  

Norman Williamson reeled in the years and got the ball rolling for Gordon Elliott when winning the John Shortt Legends Race at the beginning of Thursday’s Punchestown card and it was a day to remember for the Meath-based trainer. Williamson came out best of the legends when steering Group 2 winner Pallasator to a facile success in the 1m6f heat which saw Philip Dempsey finish second on stable companion Tiger Roll and Paul Carberry was third aboard Snow Falcon in front of a decent crowd. That was the first of six winners on the day for Elliott and when attention turned to the racing under rules he unleashed some smart novices for the season ahead with Samcro starting his hurling career and Death Duty making it two from two over fences. Samcro is now unbeaten in five and without ever coming under any pressure he asserted to record a 15 length success. Death Duty also boasted a big winning margin as he put in a pretty flawless round of jumping under Davy Russell to win the Grade 3 Buck House Novice Chase by 11 lengths and set himself up for a crack at the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase before Christmas. A Gigginstown owned treble was completed in the finale when Lisa O’Neill and Felix Desjy took the bumper and is likely now to go straight over hurdles. The other two Elliott winners, Ben Dundee and King’s Song both were winning on their first start for the yard and on what was a day dominated by Meath men, Noel Meade took the other two races on the card, including the feature Grade 3 chase with Road To Respect. The showpiece event went to last seasons Grade 1 winning novice who did well to reel in the brave front running effort of John Ryan’s Kilcarry Bridge but the winner was somewhat snug at the line under a confident Sean Flanagan and he is likely to be aimed at the big Down Royal meeting at the start of next month where he’d have options. Lex Talionis had just a head to spare when winning the 2m handicap hurdle to instigate the Meade/Flanagan brace. 

British Raider Lands The Feature In Howling Wind  

The somewhat aptly named Take Cover made a fruitful trip across the water for David Griffiths and jockey David Allan as the 10-year-old battled with both the elements and the bold run of Hit The Bid to land the feature Mercury Stakes at Dundalk on Friday evening. Winning for a 14th time and a third time on the bounce the winner may head for Hong Kong next. A rare blank for Colin Keane and a double for Pat Smullen gave life to the jockeys championship with Smullen getting another couple closer to the championship leader thanks to a double for Mick Halford. The first of those winners came aboard Katiymann who left it late but rewarded favourite backers by getting up by a neck at odds of 5/2 to deny the 10/1 shot Fuwait. Irish Champions Weekend Sale graduate Massif Central made a winning start for his new connections as he brought up the second leg of the Halford/Smullen and owner Paul Rooney double by finally breaking his maiden. There were quite a few candidates for ride of the night but that honour probably fell to Oisin Orr in the last race. Orr is himself in an enthralling battle to be crowned champion apprentice and his victory on Ellmarie Holden’s My Direction gave him a bit of daylight between himself and his nearest pursuer, Killian Leonard. Orr came from last to first on the 9/1 shot and now holds a two winner advantage of the injured Ana O’Brien and is three ahead of Leonard. The father and son team of Denis and Ross Coakley combined for their second winner together at the Louth venue as Boxer Dunford won again when taking the first division of the 7f handicap and the second division went the way of Edward O’Grady’s Bouquet Garni.

Smart Juveniles Light Up Leopardstown

Four of the races at Leopardstown on Sunday were for two-year-olds and racegoers may have witnessed some very nice types on the afternoon. Dermot Weld’s newcomer Contingent wasn't short of support for her debut and the daughter of Frankel was eventually sent off the 9/4 favourite from stall 18 and duly obliged to give Pat Smullen another winner and bring the gap between himself and Colin Keane down to four. The colts maiden, also over a mile, went the way of the Aidan O’Brien-trained James Cook, who followed up his Naas maiden effort when second to Mcgunigal, to open his account here, beaten Joseph O’Brien’s debutant Latrobe by half a length. Bookmaker quotes for next years Classics were flying about for Kenya who won the feature Killavullan Stakes for Aidan and Donnacha O’Brien. The Cork maiden winner made all of the running in the Group 3 contest and held all comers with Mcgunigal back in second and Bye Bye Baby filling the third spot. Donnacha O’Brien had earlier won the nursery for his brother Joseph on Baroness and a good day for Coolmore was completed in the Trigo Stakes when Bound overturned the favourite Cannonball by a length and three parts. Classic winning trainer Adrian Keatley sent out Lucky Mistake to win the Yulong Trophy under promising apprentice Danny Sheehy and the November Handicap at Naas on the final day of the season is next up for Grand Partner who won the 1m4f handicap for Tom Mullins and Billy Lee. 

Racing News

Aidan O’Brien Equals Bobby Frankel World Record

On the same day he was crowned champion trainer in Britain for a sixth time, Aidan O’Brien also equalled Bobby Frankel’s record of 25 Group/Grade 1 flat winners in a year when Hydrangea won Saturday’s Fillies And Mares Stakes at Ascot.  O’Brien recorded a double on British Champions Day as Order Of St George won the opening Group 2 Long Distance Cup in a dramatic finish where he just collared Jessica Harrington’s Torcedor, but it was Hydrangea who would be the sole Irish-trained Group 1 winner on the card, winning under Ryan Moore and seeing O’Brien again rewrite the history books. O’Brien will now try to break the record this weekend with runners in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster and he also has possible runners in Group 1 races in France and Australia this weekend. 

Fairyhouse Rescheduled For Tuesday October 24

Following last Saturday’s cancellation of Fairyhouse due to adverse weather conditions, this meeting has been rescheduled for this coming Tuesday, October 24 at Fairyhouse.   The same programme of races (Meeting No 295) will apply with fresh declarations to run to be made by 10am on Monday October 23. The time of the first race will be at 1.45pm.

Join Racing Stars for the Launch of Cork Racecourse Mallow National Hunt Season

A free preview evening takes place this Thursday October 26 at the Clayton Hotel, Silver Springs, Cork in preparation for the start of the winter National Hunt season in Cork.   Top jockeys Davy Russell, Jamie Codd and Paul Townend, along with trainer Joseph O’Brien, will take part in a star-studded panel hosted by racing journalists Tommy Lyons and Dave Keena.  The evening will be fun and relaxed, with open panel discussion and audience interaction. ‘A Celebration of Cork Racing’ kicks off at 7pm and tickets can be obtained by emailing or contact Niamh Doyle, Cork Racecourse Mallow, tel: 022 50207. This event is restricted to over 18s.

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